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Freemasons' Hall in London is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England, as well as being a meeting place for many Masonic Lodges in the London area. It is located in Great Queen Street between Holborn and Covent Garden and has been a Masonic meeting place since 1775. There have been three Masonic buildings on the site, with the current incarnation being opened in 1933. [ citation needed ].
Parts of the building are open to the public daily, and its preserved classic Art Deco style, together with its regular use as a film and television location, have made it a tourist destination.
In 1846, the World Evangelical Alliance was founded here.[ citation needed ]
In 1775 the premierGrand Lodge purchased a house fronting the street, behind which was a garden and a second house. A competition was held for the design of a Grand Hall to link the two houses. The front house was the Freemasons' Tavern, the back house was to become offices and meeting rooms. The winning design was by Thomas Sandby.
The current building, the third on this site, was built between 1927 and 1933 in the art deco style to the designs of architects Henry Victor Ashley and F. Winton Newman as a memorial to the 3,225 Freemasons who died on active service in World War I.
It is an imposing Art Deco building, covering two and a quarter acres (0.9 ha). Initially known as the Masonic Peace Memorial, the name was changed to Freemasons' Hall at the outbreak of the World War II in 1939. The financing for building the hall was raised by the Masonic Million Memorial Fund. This fund raised over £1 million. It is a Grade II* listed building, both internally and externally.
Central to the present building is the Grand Temple, meeting place for Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter and a majority of the lodges in the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London, as well as the annual meetings of a number of the Home Counties Provincial Grand Lodges, and for other Masonic degrees and orders to hold their annual meetings.
Many non-Masonic organisations also use the Grand Temple for numerous events as diverse as Fashion shows and Polytechnic award ceremonies. Bronze doors, each weighing one and a quarter tonnes, open on to a Chamber 123 feet (37 m) long, 90 feet (27 m) wide and 62 feet (19 m) high capable of seating 1,700.
The ceiling cove is of Mosaic work and in addition to figures and symbols from Masonic ritual includes, in the corner, figures representing the four cardinal virtues – Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice – and the Arms of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (second youngest son of Queen Victoria) Grand Master 1901–1939, at whose suggestion the Masonic Peace Memorial was built.
A large pipe organ, built by leading organ builders Henry Willis & Sons, was installed in 1933. Some 80 years later it was restored by Harrison and Harrison of Durham, the work being funded by the Supreme Grand Chapter. The restoration was completed in 2015, and included the provision of a new "Grand" section of the instrument housed in a matching new case immediately behind and above the console, thus creating three structures in place of the original two. The inaugural recital on the restored instrument was given on 30 September 2015 by Dr Thomas Trotter, organist of Birmingham Town Hall and St Margaret's, Westminster.
In addition to the Grand Temple, there are a further 26 masonic temples (formal lodge meeting rooms) within the building, used by Lodges and Chapters. All are highly ornate in their various art deco styles, and no two are identical. Amongst the temples which are of particular note, Temple No 1 was very large (seating up to 600) and contained a series of portraits of former Grand Masters. However, the temple was converted into a conference space, by removing the furnishings and Willis pipe organ (though the portraits remain).
Temple No 3, although of no unusual style in itself, contains a nineteenth-century chamber organ of note (fully restored around 2012); Temple No 10 (where the designers had additional height and space due to its location beneath the large clock tower) is built in a style which combines classic art deco with Egyptian design, and includes an impressive high domed ceiling, and also a Willis pipe organ (awaiting restoration); Temple No 11 was largely funded by donations from Japan and the Far East, and is consequently decorated in a lavish style, dominated by stylised Chrysanthemums, the national flower of Japan; Temple No 12 is known as the Burma Temple for similar reasons, and is decorated with stylised Burmese artwork, and a plaque recording the contributions of Freemasons from British Burma.
Temple No 16 has a distinctive and highly decorated barrel vault ceiling; Temple No 17 was largely funded by the Freemasons of Buckinghamshire, and has a very large carved swan (the symbol of Buckinghamshire) on one wall; it also enjoys a more than usually ornate decorative style, with extensive oak panelling, and is used in particular by the most ancient lodges in London, including the three remaining lodges (of four originals) which pre-date 1717 and the formation of the Grand Lodge itself; until 2018, Temple No 23 was the smallest (seating approximately 35 people) and contained a series of portraits of former Grand Secretaries,but in that year this temple was renamed "The Kent Room" and made available for public examination as part of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry (although it can also still be used for lodge meetings); at the same time, three brand new small temples were created (with a capacity of around 20 people in each), numbered as Temples 25, 26, and 27, as provision for meetings of very small Lodges; these new temples were created out of space that was formerly two residential flats, as the number of residential staff living in the building has greatly reduced.
In addition to these 26 Temples, and the Grand Temple, there are several very simple and plain temples reserved for 'Lodges of Instruction' and 'Lodges of Rehearsal'. Unlike the Grand Temple and the Kent Room (of which public tours are available daily) the other temples (and the rehearsal temples) are not normally open to the public, as they are in constant demand by private London Lodges and Chapters for their regular meetings. Approximately 1800 lodges and chapters meet regularly in London, and a high proportion of these meet at Freemasons' Hall.
The Museum of Freemasonry is a museum, library and archive based in Freemasons' Hall covering Freemasonry and other fraternal orders. The Museum is a Charitable Trust registered with the Charity Commission (Registered Charity number 1058497).
In 2007 the collection of the Museum of Freemasonry was recognised through the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council’s Designation Scheme as being of outstanding quality and significance and of national and international importance.
The Museum is open to the general public and entry is free of charge. The Museum has a collection of Masonic artworks, ceremonial objects and regalia, as well as everyday objects with Masonic decoration, including clocks, furniture, glassware, jewellery, porcelain, pottery and silver.
The Library is open to the public for reference use and users are required to register. The Library contains a comprehensive collection of printed books and manuscripts on every facet of Freemasonry in England, as well as material on Freemasonry elsewhere in the world, and on subjects associated with Freemasonry or with mystical and esoteric traditions. The Library catalogue is available online.In addition to its core Masonic collections, The Museum of Freemasonry holds a wide selection of items relating to Friendly Societies such as the Oddfellows, Foresters and many other societies both current and no longer in existence. A large collection of Friendly Societies books, especially relating to the Oddfellows and the Foresters, are also held by the Library.
The Museum provides a genealogical enquiry service. However, there is no complete alphabetical index of Freemasons publicly available.
The Museum of Freemasonry also presents workshops, events, and a major thematic exhibition, as well as several smaller exhibitions during the course of the year. Admission to all exhibitions is free.
In addition to the Grand Temple, the other temples, and the Library and Museum, the building contains extensive administrative offices, storage space for the property of the many hundreds of lodges meeting in the building, a masonic shop (open to the public during normal trading hours), board rooms, workshops, archives, a members' drawing room, and an entire floor of charities administration, where the combined masonic charities have their administration.
The Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London is also administered from the building. It has around 40,000 Freemasons as members, which makes it the largest of the Masonic provinces.
Throughout the building Robert Adams (Victor) range of floor springs are used to control the doors, including the "Sceptre Victor." Windows are also controlled by Robert Adams geared fan light operators.
Brother Luke Howard (Eleanor Cross Lodge No.1764 of the province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire) was passed in the Second Degree on 25th March 2017 in celebration of the Tercentenary of Freemasonry. This was an historic moment for the province as it was its first ceremony within the Grand Temple. Hundreds of Masons from around the province attended this occasion as part of the provinces Tercentenary celebrations, a once in a generation event.
In 2016, a part of the film Assassin's Creed was filmed in the Grand Temple. Re-labeled as "The Grand Templar Hall", the Temple is used as the antagonist's location for his award ceremony towards the end of the film. The Hall is seen sporting double Templar Crosses on the facade of the Temple.
Like Sandby's Grand Hall, the Grand Temple is also used for concerts and musical events – having excellent acoustics and clear sight-lines. In September 2014, Freemasons' Hall hosted several fashion shows as a part of London Fashion Week 2014.
The building is used both internally and externally as a stand-in for Thames House (the home of MI5) in the TV series Spooks [ citation needed ] and has also featured extensively in the long-running series of TV films Agatha Christie's Poirot . The building makes frequent one-off appearances in episodes of other television series, such as its extensive use in Hustle , series 5, episode 2. Both its exterior and interior were used in an episode of New Tricks , and the interior has been used for the film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where Freemasons' Hall becomes the temple in which the "Jatravartid" people pray for "the coming of the Great White Handkerchief". It has also been used in many other feature films, including Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London , The Wings of the Dove, Johnny English , Sherlock Holmes , and the television adaptation of The Line of Beauty . The building has also featured as a backdrop in music videos, including extensive use (internally and externally) in the music video for Westlife's cover of Mandy .and in the TV series Spy
The 2013 crypto-thriller The Sword of Moses by Dominic Selwood has numerous scenes set in Freemasons' Hall.
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Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons that from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients.
A Masonic lodge, often termed a private lodge or constituent lodge, is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. It is also commonly used as a term for a building in which such a unit meets. Every new lodge must be warranted or chartered by a Grand Lodge, but is subject to its direction only in enforcing the published constitution of the jurisdiction. By exception the three surviving lodges that formed the world's first known grand lodge in London have the unique privilege to operate as time immemorial, i.e., without such warrant; only one other lodge operates without a warrant – the Grand Stewards' Lodge in London, although it is not also entitled to the "time immemorial" title. A Freemason is generally entitled to visit any lodge in any jurisdiction in amity with his own. In some jurisdictions this privilege is restricted to Master Masons. He is first usually required to check, and certify, the regularity of the relationship of the Lodge – and be able to satisfy that Lodge of his regularity of membership. Freemasons gather together as a Lodge to work the three basic Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason.
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing Masonic lodge for the majority of freemasons in England, Wales and the Commonwealth of Nations. Claiming descent from the Masonic grand lodge formed 24 June 1717 at the Goose & Gridiron Tavern in London, it is considered to be the oldest Masonic Grand Lodge in the world. Together with the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, they are often referred to by their members as "the home Grand Lodges" or "the Home Constitutions".
The Grand Lodge of Ireland is the second most senior Grand Lodge of Freemasons in the world, and the oldest in continuous existence. Since no specific record of its foundation exists, 1725 is the year celebrated in Grand Lodge anniversaries, as the oldest reference to Grand Lodge of Ireland comes from the Dublin Weekly Journal of 26 June 1725. This describes a meeting of the Grand Lodge to install the new Grand Master, The 1st Earl of Rosse, on 24 June. The Grand Lodge has regular Masonic jurisdiction over 13 Provincial Grand Lodges covering all the Freemasons of the island of Ireland, and another 11 provinces worldwide.
Great Queen Street is a street in the West End of central London in England. It is a continuation of Long Acre from Drury Lane to Kingsway. It runs from 1 to 44 along the north side, east to west, and 45 to about 80 along the south side, west to east. The street straddles and connects the Covent Garden and Holborn districts and is in the London Borough of Camden. It is numbered B402.
Phoenix Lodge No. 94 is a Craft Lodge in Freemasonry under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England. Members of Phoenix Lodge built the Freemasons' Hall in Queen Street East, Sunderland, in 1785; it is considered to be the oldest purpose-built Masonic Temple in the world that has been in continuous use from its foundation and is still used as such today. The Hall is a Grade I listed building. Phoenix is also the oldest Lodge in the city of Sunderland and the second oldest in the Province of Durham.
The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple is a theatre and cultural center in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Cultural Center's mission statement is "to rejuvenate a national architectural structure as a regional center for arts, education and community activities appealing to all ages." The Cultural Center hosts national Broadway tours; professional and local musical and dramatic theatre offerings; local, regional and national orchestral and popular music, dance and opera; comedians, lecturers, art exhibits, a children's and performing arts academy and various classes as well as fundraiser galas and special events including proms, luncheons, private parties and is a popular wedding ceremony and reception venue. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Indiana is one of two statewide organizations that oversee Masonic lodges in the state of Indiana. It was established on January 13, 1818. The Grand Lodge of Indiana's offices and archives are located in the Indianapolis Masonic Temple.
Masonic ritual is the scripted words and actions that are spoken or performed during the degree work in a Masonic Lodge. Masonic symbolism is that which is used to illustrate the principles which Freemasonry espouses. Masonic ritual has appeared in a number of contexts within literature including in "The Man Who Would Be King", by Rudyard Kipling, and War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy.
The Freemasons' Tavern was established in 1775 at 61-65 Great Queen Street in the West End of London. It served as a meeting place for a variety of notable organisations from the eighteenth century until it was demolished to make way for the Connaught Hotel in 1909.
A Masonic Temple or Masonic Hall is, within Freemasonry, the room or edifice where a Masonic Lodge meets. Masonic Temple may also refer to an abstract spiritual goal and the conceptual ritualistic space of a meeting.
The Cheltenham Masonic Hall is believed to be the second oldest purpose-built Masonic Lodge in England. Grand Lodge in London did not build a purpose built lodge room until 1877. It is one of the few Temples in the country which has continuously been used as a Lodge room for considerably over 100 years.
The current Indianapolis Masonic Temple, also known as Indiana Freemasons Hall, is a historic Masonic Temple located at Indianapolis, Indiana. Construction was begun in 1908, and the building was dedicated in May 1909. It is an eight-story, Classical Revival style cubic form building faced in Indiana limestone. The building features rows of engaged Ionic order columns. It was jointly financed by the Indianapolis Masonic Temple Association and the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Indiana, and was designed by the distinguished Indianapolis architectural firm of Rubush and Hunter.
The Kent Museum of Freemasonry, is a museum in St Peters Place, Canterbury, Kent with a rare collection of masonic exhibits of national and international importance.
The Iowa Masonic Library and Museum, located at 813 First Ave. SE, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States, is one of the largest Masonic libraries in the world and incorporates at least three museum collections. The library was the first, worldwide, to have its own building. Its current building also houses the administrative offices for the Grand Lodge of Iowa, one of the governing bodies for Freemasonry in Iowa.
The Masonic Temple is a heritage-listed masonic temple at 311 Ann Street, Brisbane City, City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by Lange Leopold Powell of Atkinson, Powell and Conrad and was built from 1928 to 1930 by George Alexander Stronach & Son. It is also known as the Masonic Memorial Temple. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.
Mark Masons' Hall in London is the headquarters of The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England and Wales, which is also responsible for the Royal Ark Mariner degree. It is located in 86 St James's Street in the central London district of St James's, opposite St James's Palace. While Freemasons' Hall is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England, Mark Masons' Hall is the home of several other important appendant orders of Freemasonry in England and Wales.
The Grand Lodge Building is a historic building at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. It houses the Grand Lodge of Tennessee of Free and Accepted Masons. In addition to offices, meeting spaces, and a dining hall, the building also contains a Masonic library, museum, a large theatrical auditorium and stage, and a collection of portraits of all the Past Grand Masters of Tennessee.
Museum of Freemasonry, based at Freemasons’ Hall, London, is a fully accredited museum since 2014, with a designated outstanding collection of national importance since 2007 and registered charitable trust since 1996. The facility encompasses a museum, library, and archive.